What’s Good for the Silent Goose…

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 05/30/2023

In an article titled “Things Jesus Never Said,” Robert Bowman, co-author of Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, notes that those who argue against Jesus’ deity by citing the fact that Jesus never said the exact words “I am God” are merely employing an illegitimate argument from silence—a logical fallacy.

And then he makes a point I never thought of before:

It is true that Jesus never said, “I am God.” However, there are many other things that Jesus never said, at least as found in the Gospels.

For example, Jesus never said, “I am Michael” or “I am an archangel.” Yet Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was Michael the archangel.

Jesus also never said, “I did not exist until I was born of a virgin, my mother Mary.” Despite the lack of any such statement by Jesus in the Gospels, Unitarians, who deny that Jesus is God, believe that Jesus’ existence began when he was conceived and born of the virgin Mary.

Muslims also affirm the virgin birth of Jesus but not his deity. Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus say, “I am not God, only his prophet,” or, “I am only a man through whom God speaks.”

Jesus never said, “I am the firstborn spirit son of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother,” or “I am one of the three Gods who make up the Godhead.” Nor did Jesus ever say, “I am the only begotten son of God in the flesh” or “God is my literal father in the flesh and Mary is my mother.” Yet these statements express what the LDS Church teaches about Jesus Christ….

Those who criticize the traditional Christian belief that Jesus is God should bear at least a similar burden of proof as they wish to impose on us. There is no reason why the traditional view should be subject to a different set of rules than contrary views. [Emphasis in original.]

In other words, those who claim we shouldn’t believe Jesus is God because he never said the words “I am God” cannot then advocate other positions about Jesus that were never explicitly stated by Jesus.

What’s good for the silent goose is good for the silent gander.

(Note: Bowman’s article is currently only available online to subscribers of the Institute for Religious Research’s newsletter. I encourage you to sign up here for more.)